From the Pastor January 15, 2017



2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – A

 

My next reflection on the 50 Saints with an Obligatory
Memorial
and full set of orations is Saint Anthony, Abbot, [aka Saint Anthony of the Desert,
not
Saint Anthony of Padua] whose Feast Day is January 17. Born of wealthy parents in the mid 200’s, they died when he was about 20, and he inherited their fortune; when he was about 35, he radically answered Christ’s call to “leave all things and follow me.”
Saint Anthony
sold everything, established a trust fund [of sorts] for his only sister, and gradually entered more and more deeply into the monastic life as a hermit in Egypt’s deserts.

 

Since he so perfectly balanced the spiritual and secular life, Saint Anthony
is called the ‘father of monasticism.’ It is a heresy to reject creation’s goodness, for the Creator declared all He had made ‘good.’ What Saint Anthony
opposed was the demented, disordered, and self-destructive use of creation – caused by the fallout of Original Sin – especially the sins of the flesh. In his writings, he admitted that his struggles with ‘impure thoughts’ lasted until his death … and he died at 105 years of age! So he is the patron saint of those addicted to pornography and other misuses of God’s gift of our human sexuality. In art, he is often depicted with the devils and demons that plagued him … and us! Here are Saint Anthony, Abbot’s
orations.

 

Collect – Saint Anthony, Abbot

 

O God, who brought the Abbot Saint Anthony

to serve you by a wondrous way of life

in the desert, grant, through his

intercession, that, denying ourselves,

we may always love you above all things.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.

 

SELF-DENIAL: A LOST ART?
We admire the athlete, who, as Saint Paul said, “exercises discipline in every way … to win a perishable crown” [1 Corinthians 9:25]; we praise our military for their grueling training and preparedness; we honor health care professionals who spend years – and a small fortune – to be prepared to help us. But do we follow their example? Is it any wonder that – unable to say ‘NO!’ to what can harm us or others, especially children – our lack of self-discipline has led to widespread obesity and other woes, drug and alcohol abuse, and epidemic entitlement expectations? May Saint Anthony: help us to deny ourselves by just saying “NO!” to all that can harm us!

 

Prayer over the Offerings – Saint Anthony, Abbot

 

May these offerings of our service, placed on your altar in commemoration of Saint Anthony,

be acceptable to you, O Lord, we pray, and grant that, released from earthly attachments, we may have our riches in you alone.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

DO YOUR POSSESSIONS ‘POSSESS’ YOU?
As noted above, earthly things are basically good … but we MUST use them properly. For while God permitted us to name and use all He created for us, He did not ask us to ‘own’ them or of our own accord determine their purpose. We cannot forget that we are stewards, from whom God will demand an account of all He entrusted to us. To be “released from earthly attachments”
means to let go of OUR plans for their use … to use them as God wills: for the common good.

 

Prayer after Communion – Saint Anthony, Abbot

 

Nourished for our healing by your Sacraments, O Lord, may we escape every snare of the enemy unharmed, just as by your grace

Saint Anthony won glorious victories

over the powers of darkness.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

DELIVER US FROM EVERY EVIL.

To conclude the Lord’s Prayer, the Priest prays that we be delivered from all evil, which expands the Our Father’s last lines: “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Modern day flicks often represent evil in sinister, frightful, demonic ways … which is so misleading. For Satan tempted Jesus in the desert by using good things: food, power and prestige, in ungodly, selfish ways. The Devil, aka, the ‘Father of Lies’ – now tries to get us to abuse what God made with good intent. What joy to know that Saint Anthony of the Desert intercedes for us to Jesus, who was tempted in every way we are, but never sinned! Saint Anthony, pray for us.

 

In His holy Name,


 

 

 

Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS